Couscous Cake with Berry Topping

posted in: Dessert, Recipes | 7

Do you know about couscous cake, yet? If you have been following my posts for a while, you may already know that I am not a big fan of baked flour. Actually, that’s not completely accurate. I love baked flour; good sourdough bread, cookies, pie, yum. However, my body gets a little cranky.

From an energetic perspective, baked flour products can have a drying and tightening effect on the body, and the liver especially can get a little irritated. I know you can’t tell from my blog, but I actually used to be a professional baker. One of the main reasons I stumbled upon macrobiotics was because I couldn’t stay out of the chocolate chip cookie dough. I have had plenty of baked flour in my life. I’m trying to take a break. That’s all I’m going to say about it.

So, this simple cake-like dessert is not baked. Feel free to increase the proportion of apple juice or add a few tablespoons of maple syrup or brown rice syrup to the couscous liquid if you want to make the cake even sweeter.

Any ripe berries or stone fruit will do as a topping. I made this one with frozen berries because I need to make room for the new berries I am picking next week. The recipe is for fresh fruit. If you use frozen. like I did, see the notes below the recipe. Agar is a sea vegetables used to help the topping gel. You can find it in most natural food stores.

Couscous Cake with Berry Topping

Couscous Cake
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
2 cups water
a pinch or two of sea salt
1 1/2 cups couscous

1.  Add the juice, water and sea salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

2.  Add the couscous. Stir quickly, then immediately remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

3.  Scoop the cooked couscous into a square baking dish (8 or 9″). Press the couscous in slightly and even out the top. Set aside.

1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 heaping Tbsp agar
a pinch or two of sea salt
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 1/2 to 2 cups of berries or cut up ripe stone fruit (cherries, peaches, plums)

1.  Pour the juice and water into a saucepan. Add agar and let sit for 10 minutes to soften.

2.  Add the sea salt. Slowly bring the liquid to a boil, whisking frequently to help the agar dissolve and prevent it from clumping. Boil for about 5 minutes. Keep whisking. Remove from heat and add brown rice syrup and fruit.

3.  Set the topping aside to cool. When the topping starts to thicken, pour on top of the couscous and spread evenly. Let sit for an hour or two on the counter or in the fridge if you want it to set up firm. Otherwise you can eat it immediately.


Before adding the fruit, you can check to make sure the liquid will gel by placing a spoonful in the freezer for a few minutes. If it firms up, you’re good. If it stays liquid, add a little more agar and bring to a boil again and re-test.

For frozen berries:  Thaw berries in a small saucepan over gentle heat then add when fruit is called for in the recipe. If there is a lot of extra liquid, drain the fruit out and boil the liquid gently until reduced to about 3-4 Tbsp. Frozen blueberries especially will set up well because they have a lot of  natural pectin.

You can make just the topping into a dessert called Fruit Kanten.IMG_20130729_142537


7 Responses

  1. LL

    Looks and sounds delish! Cool Idea with cooking the cake with grains instead of floor.

    LL 😀

    • sweetveg

      It’s not as sweet as a regular cake, but it’s really yummy with the fruit topping.

      • lee

        Cool, thanks again.
        Think reg cake too sweet and great since don’t have oven. Wonder if any alternate grain you’d recommend that’s guten-free.
        This be good for Tara’s bday and potluck… 😉

  2. sweetveg

    You could try either soft cooked polenta (1 part polenta to 4 parts water) or millet (1 part millet to 3 parts water). Just cook the grain with a pinch of sea salt for 20-25 minutes and add enough sweetener at the end. Lemon zest is nice here, too. Spread it shallow in a dish and it will firm up. Then spread your fruit mixture on top. It won’t be quite the same, but it is a decent dessert if you are used to things that aren’t so sweet and you don’t have an oven. 🙂